Meals Financial institution accepting donations at Fort Edmonton Park

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Edmonton’s Food Bank is tag-teaming with Fort Edmonton Park to help boost food and monetary donations over the next three months.

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Starting this weekend, they’re hoping to fill an entire train caboose with food over the months-long fundraising campaign in support of the food bank.

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“The need for food is continuous throughout the year, especially as inflation disproportionately impacts those with fixed or low incomes,” the food bank said in a Thursday news release.

According to the 2022 Food Banks Canada’s annual national HungerCount report, Alberta has seen a 73 per cent increase in food bank usage since 2019, more than double the national rate of increase and the highest across the country. One-fifth of Albertans reported experiencing food insecurity and Albertans were also more likely to mention “unemployment” as a top reason for food bank usage compared to the rest of the country.

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Day at Fort Edmonton Park, which stepped up to help fill the need by asking visitors to bring donations to the park as part of their visit.

“As we begin 2023, our work continues as hunger is a year-round challenge for many. Thanks to our friends at Fort Edmonton Foundation and Fort Edmonton Park, who are getting everyone on board and making giving simple,” said Marjorie Bencz, executive director of Edmonton’s Food Bank, in the news release. “Food donations from guests to Fort Edmonton Park will be graciously accepted and collected on our behalf.”

The park itself might be mostly closed off for the season but there are still a number of attractions to check out including the award-winning Indigenous Peoples Experience exhibit, which runs from noon to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 14-March 26 , and horse-drawn wagon rides that run through Edmonton’s river valley from Jan. 7-Feb. 24

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Natalie Pepin, a Metis cultural educator, in the rotunda of the Indigenous Peoples Experience venue at Fort Edmonton Park on September 1, 2021. Natalie Pepin, a Metis cultural educator, in the rotunda of the Indigenous Peoples Experience venue at Fort Edmonton Park on September 1, 2021. Photo by Larry Wong /Postmedia

Items can be dropped off at the Guard House or the Indigenous Peoples Experience.

“As a community driven organization, Fort Edmonton Foundation feels it’s important to support the Food Bank during their challenging months,” said Fort Edmonton Foundation executive director Lori Farquharson Persaud in the news release. “Please join us in donating to the Food Bank while visiting Fort Edmonton Park.”

Edmonton’s Food Bank doesn’t receive ongoing government funding, but the province did provide $5 million to food banks and community organizations at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, and another $1 million in 2021.

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